Arizona Supreme Court Justice Michael Ryan Announces Retirement; Governor Jan Brewer Will Kinda-Sorta Pick Replacement

Arizona Supreme Court Justice Michael Ryan announced today that he will retire from the bench after serving on the state's high court for eight years.

Ryan, 64, is permitted by state law to serve until he's 70 years old, but he gave no specific reason as to why he's leaving before old age forces him out.

Ryan, was appointed to the court in 2002 by then-Governor Jane Hull, a Republican, after a lengthy career as a judge.

Before his appointment to the Supreme Court, Ryan served as a Maricopa County Superior Court judge, and was a deputy in the Maricopa County Attorney's Office from 1977-1985.

Ryan's last day will be August 6, which means Governor Jan Brewer will have the task of picking his replacement -- sorta.

A 1974 amendment to the Arizona Constitution requires applicants for certain judgeships -- Supreme Court justices included -- be reviewed by a screening commission.

The commission then gives the governor a list of three candidates -- only two of which can be a member of the governor's political party -- to choose from.

Brewer has not indicated who she wants to fill Ryan's spot, but given her political affiliation, and the fact that an Arizona governor has only picked a justice outside of her or his political party once since the system was put in place (Jane Hull picked Democrat Ruth McGregor), it's likely we'll see another GOPer join the bench.   

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